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Carl Sandburg

I Am the People, the Mob

I am the people––the mob––the crowd––the mass.
Do you know that all the great work of the world is done through me?
I am the workingman, the inventor, the maker of the world' s food and
I am the audience that witnesses history. The Napoleons come from me and
      the Lincoln. They die. And then I send forth more Napoleons and
I am the seed ground. I am a prairie that will stand for much plowing.
      Terrible storms pass over me. I forget. The best of me is sucked out and
      wasted. I forget. Everything but Death comes to me and makes me work
      and give up what I have. And I forget.
Sometimes I growl, shake myself and spatter a few red drops for history to
      remember. Then––I forget.
When I, the People, learn to remember, when I, the People, use the lessons of
      yesterday and no longer forget who robbed me last year, who played me
      for a fool––then there will be no speaker in all the world say the name:
      “The People,” with any fleck of a sneer in his voice or any far-off smile of
The mob––the crowd––the mass––will arrive then.



Sandburg, Carl. Chicago Poems. New York, N.Y.: Henry Holt, 1916.